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Aug 13, 20

This Is America #123: LA Tenants Union, Streets On Fire, the GOP & the Rise of Conspiracy

cover photo with permission from @BesharmKutti

Welcome, to This Is America, August 12th, 2020.

On this episode, first we speak with someone involved in the Los Angeles Tenants Union. We talk about how the organization has grown to include autonomous chapters across the LA area, what organizing the group is involved in currently, ongoing rent strikes, and thoughts on the current threat of mass evictions within the context of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

We then get into a discussion about the GOP’s embrace of conspiracy theories and how this relates to a recent hearing on “protest violence” held on Capitol Hill.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

  • Large scale riots and clashes with police have continued to break out across the US in the wake of ongoing police killings and to mark the anniversary of the police murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson. Last Saturday in Seattle, Washington, people clashed with members of the far-Right group the Proud Boys while another group assembled later that night, breaking windows of various corporate storefronts.

  • In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin people marched through police barricades to protest in front of the home of a police officer currently under investigation for killing three people over the past 5 years.

  • In Ferguson, Missouri, protests were held on the anniversary of the police killing of Mike Brown, leading to clashes with police and arrests.

  • In Chicago, Illinois, anger built late Sunday in the wake of a police shooting that sent one man to the hospital. After clashes broke out with people at the scene of the shooting, hundreds of people then converged on the Magnificent Mile shopping district and began looting. Police made numerous arrests but the looting was widespread, highly organized, utilized social media, and people even brought with them boxes of rocks and bricks to break out the windows of luxury stores. The next day, Black Lives Matter Chicago held a rally demanding those arrested the previous night by released, calling the acts of looting, “reparations.” The Chicago Mayor responded by closing off major bridges and deploying police to set up access points where employees and residents were forced to show ID in order to enter the area.

  • In Richmond, Virginia, rowdy demonstrations and clashes continued, leaving windows to a variety of stores wrecked.

  • Rent strikes are continuing and anti-eviction protests have kicked off in a big way across the US. Check IGD in the coming days for a roundup of action happening in different cities. Currently, people have held demonstrations outside of eviction courts to stop landlords from starting the legal process, defended homes that are in danger of being evicted, and also organized protests at landlord’s offices.

  • In Bend, Oregon, hundreds blocked ICE buses that were transporting several people to be deported. The blockade lasted over 10 hours as hundreds converged around the buses, graffitied them with slogans, and finally, faced off with heavily armed DHS agents. Ultimately, the agents were able to sadly extract the people on the buses.

  • In the east bay area, a large crowd protested ICE and then moved to blockade Highway 101 last weekend as demonstrators called for the abolition of agency.


  • University of California (UC) student workers who were fired during the historic UC wildcat strike were recently re-hired; a massive victory for the wildcat movement which has fought for a cost of living wage increase.
  • Several crowd-funding campaigns have been set up protesters arrested during recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Eugene, Oregon.
  • In Washington DC, Jason Charter faces upwards of 20 years in prison following an arrest at a rally where hundreds attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson. Charter has been labeled a “ringleader of Antifa” by the far-Right media and Fox News. Trump has pushed the DOJ to prioritize prosecution of those involved in bringing down statues, across the US.
  • In Salt Lake City, Utah, demonstrators face possible life sentences along with gang enhancements for spilling fake blood and putting up Black Lives Matter posters at the District Attorney’s office.

Antifascist Update

  • In Charlottesville, Virginia, people held a celebration to mark the three year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally, where antifascist and anti-racist groups stood up against a larger hoard of neo-Nazis, Alt-Right, militia, and KKK members and antifascist and socialist Heather Heyer was horrifically murdered.

  • In Douglas County, Nevada, around 1,500 far-Right demonstrators, Trump supporters, and militia members rallied against 20 Black Lives Matter protesters and in support of a local Sheriff who had received media criticism for attacking the local library for putting out a pro-Black Lives Matter statement. Far-Right demonstrators surrounded the small BLM group and chased them back to their cars, yelling racial epitaphs.

  • In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators have witnessed a variety of attempted attacks over the past few days – from vehicles trying to run over marchers to someone throwing pipe-bombs at protesters last weekend. One of the persons involved in the pipe-bomb attack was followed and later IDed by antifascists as Louis Fernbaugh, a former Navy Seal with a long history on the far-Right, along with a deep hatred for antifascists.
  • And lastly, in Eugene, Oregon and Nevada City, California, Trump supporters clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.


Upcoming Events

  • August 14th: Anti-Trump & Antifascist Counter Protest in Novato, CA
  • August 15th: Rally Against White Supremacist Rally in Stone Mountain, GA
  • August 29th: Mobilize Against ‘Hate-Pride’ Rally in Modesto, CA

More info here.

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